MATARAM, Indonesia: A strong aftershock struck Indonesia’s Lombok Thursday, causing panic among evacuees already traumatized by a devastating earthquake that killed more than 319 on the holiday island four days earlier.
The 5.9-magnitude quake struck at a shallow depth in the northwest of the island, the US Geological Survey said, even as relief agencies raced to find survivors among the wreckage from Sunday’s quake.
It was the strongest of some 355 aftershocks that have rattled the island since Sunday, national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.
Evacuees at a shelter in northern Lombok’s Tanjung district ran out onto the road crying and screaming, an AFP reporter at the scene said.
The aftershock comes just four days after a devastating 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck Lombok, which relief agencies said had wiped out entire villages in the worst-hit regions in the north and west.
A total of 164 people were now confirmed dead in the quake, Nugroho told AFP, with a further 1,400 seriously injured and more than 150,000 displaced.
State-run news agency Antara reported overnight 347 had been killed by the quake, but Nugroho said the tally was incomplete and unverified.
Local authorities, international relief groups and the central government have begun organizing aid, but shattered roads have slowed efforts to reach survivors in the mountainous north of Lombok, which bore the brunt of the quake.
Aid begun trickling into some of the most isolated regions, officials said midday Thursday, but many people displaced by the quake still lack basic supplies.
In some parts of northern Lombok, survivors can be seen standing on the road with cardboard boxes asking for donations and food.
Evacuees in some encampments say they are running out of food, while others are suffering psychological trauma after the powerful quake, which struck just one week after another tremor surged through the island and killed 17.